Get Out

The rain has filled your jam jar ash tray at the back door.

The butts ferment and fume.

Ugly slugs, darkening the water.



I remember our last fight and smash the jar against the concrete.

The slugs squirm through the rain water


The ash trickles into your last love letter

I could take the brush and sweep them away

But I’m not ready to forget the mess we made.

My Mother’s Hands

Carving out a doll’s dream house from a hoover box.

Amongst the peacock feathers of unpaid bills

I sat entranced as she fashioned a lift for the penthouse out of an old party cup

Her fingers played over the secondhand keyboard as she rubbed my forehead with her cinched waist thumb.

“I always hoped…”

Her pianist fingers resting on her swollen belly. My sister.

They played a lost tune as she stared out the window.

I sat nursing secret heartbreaks. Eyes filled with hurt I shared without words.

“We don’t have tissues”

But her fingers, with joints swollen from years of sewing the wrong size


pull off a pillowcase and wiped my face.

Now I sit in my dream house with my own baby and stroke her head with my cinched waist thumb.

The years rush back and I am standing at a bus stop with my small hand wrapped safely in sugar paper fingers.

And I miss my mother’s hands.

Journey South

The coorse claes

Clarty fae lang days by the burn aneth the auld bridge

“far hiv ye ben quine?”



nighean ruadh

Names we forgot to pack when we moved to the city

“Ingin peh”

The words grow through the cracks like deil’s meal in the city’s reek

They’re not gone, they just grow aneth the surface

Waiting for ware

“Aa cannae wait!”

“Enough of that orey talk”

But a wee bairn sits on a bucket and travels the world.

Book toon and bricht bays

Bide: Braw and Bonnie

Babble up fae lang forgotten nichts

Papa sang ae the “darkly rollin Dee”

A new hame agayne

“Through the hoose?”

Yer haverin!

And language forgotten and new takes root agayne.

Language played a large part in my sense of self. When I was a young child I grew up with Doric and I attach it to a lot of my childhood memories. For this reason it has a really nostalgic feel for me.

A significant move for me was when I moved to Dundee and suddenly it was looked down on to talk “oreyI found this a really hard adjustment. Especially as I had grown up on a healthy diet of ‘Oor Wullie’ and preempted an easy transition!

My final significant move was to Wigtownshire, where I found Galloway Irish creeping into my vernacular. My daughter was born here and I am intrigued to see whose dialect she will adopt.